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Greens Matter of Public Importance - Gambling Policy

21 March 2019
Rosalie Woodruff MP

 

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Deputy Speaker, when talking on this issue it 
is appropriate to bring into this Chamber the experiences and voices of 
people most affected by the issue we are discussing today. I remember the 
people I met at the showgrounds whose lives have been utterly ruined by 
gambling. Those people have lost children, have sons and daughters in 
jail, have had family members kill themselves. They were so addicted to 
gambling they had lost their homes, their relationships, their children 
and their own sense of self worth. This is an utterly predatory industry. 
It is about making money out of other people's misery. Every person in 
this Chamber should know that. 

The Liberal Party and now the Labor Party are prepared to walk away from 
those people's lives, Tasmanian people's lives; people who live in our 
suburbs, in our streets, people like every person in this Chamber and 
every other person we might meet at a community event or in our day-to-day 
work. They are the people who desperately needed us to make a principled 
stand, all of us, at the last election. 

That the Liberal Party sold their soul and was prepared to sell the souls 
of every single person who is struggling with addiction from gambling in 
Tasmania and allowed themselves to be bought is a matter of public record. 
It is a stain on that party and that stain will live with the Liberals and 
with Premier Hodgman for decades to come. The Premier carries that stain 
and he knows it in his heart that this election was bought by Federal 
Group so that they could continue to gouge money out of Tasmanians. 

In the last year in Tasmania, nearly 330 more gambling machines were 
approved to go into pubs and clubs. According to the estimate of $150 000 
a machine, that amounts to an extra $50 million being taken from the 
poorest people in this state - on top of the hundreds of millions of 
dollars a year already taken from those people. This is not simply some 
figure, this is real money. Where does it comes from? It comes from the 
money they would spend on the food they would put on the table for their 
children. The Labor Party knows this, which is why they went to the last 
election and told Tasmanians they would finally take a principled stand 
against the terrible history of their party for supporting the Federal 
Group, Farrell hotels moving into our suburbs and gouging Tasmanians as 
they have for decades.

Rebecca White, the Leader of the Labor Party, has left the Chamber, 
clearly not wanting to hear what the Greens have to say on this important 
matter. She promised that Labor had listened and they would act to end 
this disgusting, predatory behaviour and remove pokies from pubs and clubs, 
break up that whole arrangement and make sure Federal Group does not 
continue to do what they are currently doing every single day; putting 
people into poverty, mental health, ill health, neglect of children and 
all the other things that come with gambling. Instead, the Leader of the 
Labor Party in Tasmania has buckled to federal Labor, which buckled to 
Federal Group. The money that flows to the federal Labor Party and the 
Tasmanian Labor Party, as it also flows to the Liberals, from the gambling 
industry. She has buckled, letting down those people to whom she made 
that promise.

I do not want to waste my time talking about Labor. They have utterly 
shamed themselves on this issue. People know they were lied to. The 
problem is these things ricochet. When people lie, when people change 
their position, when they say they are acting on principle and they 
backflip, it sets a stain on all of us. Look what is happening at the 
federal level right now. Look at where we are in politics. The 
institutions of democracy are beholden to uphold the principles we say we 
believe in. The Greens do not accept the word gaming, it is gambling. 
There is no fun about this. There is misery and suffering. It is not 
about freedom of choice; the Liberals use that as a narrative to pick up 
and put down at will. 

The crazy, conflicted values the Liberals have about this means that they 
want to lock people up for petty, personal levels of drug use but they are 
more than happy to weaken our gun laws to give people freedom of choice. 
Your approach is, 'if you would like this type of gun or it is not 
convenient for you, the administration is too much, we will just weaken 
the laws so you can get what you want'.